How Much Voter Fraud Was There?

Voter fraud is a large and growing problem in the United States, and there is good reason to think that it exploded in 2020 on account of (among other things) unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots and deliberately lax controls in many states. John Lott has now produced a statistical analysis that suggests substantial voter fraud in Fulton County, Georgia and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Lott’s conclusion is that his analysis suggests a total of more than 55,000 fraudulent votes in those two counties. You can read Lott’s paper here. His statistical calculations are laid out in detail, and you can evaluate them for yourself.

Lott’s method is simple and rather elegant: he compares absentee votes in precincts in Fulton County, for example, with adjacent precincts in neighboring counties. He also controls for demographics. Since voting is done at the precinct level, while counting was done at the county level, and since there is no evident reason why precincts across the street from one another should show significantly different results, the approach makes sense.

But the evidence is still circumstantial. One factor in this year’s election in Georgia is that unattended ballot boxes were set up, but only in heavily Democratic areas. I don’t know whether all of them were in Fulton County, but I believe a lot of them were. Anyone could drop any number of ballots into these boxes. Why the state’s Secretary of State, a Republican, agreed to such an arrangement, which virtually cries out for fraud to be committed, is anyone’s guess. But he did.

The Democrats will argue, of course, that turnout was extraordinarily high in last year’s election because their voters were motivated and they did a good job of driving turnout. Mail-in voting also predictably increased turnout, fraud aside. Analyses like Lott’s can cast doubt on whether such benign explanations can account for Joe Biden’s “win,” but there is no way they will result in the election being overturned. At this point, even if Republicans were able to show how, and by whom, fraud was perpetrated in various states, which likely would require confessions from Democratic operatives, it is too late to prevent Biden’s inauguration.

What will happen, however, is that Joe Biden will take office under a cloud of uncertainty. According to the polls, close to half of the country doubts that he actually won the election. His ill health and mental decline would make him a lame duck in any event, but the additional cloud over the legitimacy of his election will erode his authority still further.

Over the next two years, the election will be investigated and books will be written. Some will argue that Donald Trump actually won the election, while others will try to show that Biden’s victory was legitimate. In all likelihood, the question will never be definitively resolved, but the questions about Biden’s legitimacy probably will grow.

Will that scenario bring about demands for electoral reform so that future elections do not end in a cloud of doubt? I hope so, but I doubt it, at least in states where Democrats have substantial power. The Democrats like voter fraud. That has been true for a long time. In 2020, they saw how helpful to their cause lax voting procedures, that both enable fraud and make it hard if not impossible to prove, can be. They will fight tooth and nail to preserve their fraud advantage in future elections. All of which could make the bitterness over last year’s election a mild preview of things to come.

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